* Battle lines are drawn as Campaign 2012 begins: The supercommittee’s failure represented the precise moment when any remaining illusions about the possibility of bipartisan governing compromise died for good — and the moment when it became crystal clear that the only thing that will resolve our biggest disputes is an all-out political war, i.e., Campaign 2012, which begins right now.
Indeed, as Peter Wallsten and Lori Montgomery write today, Obama is quickly pivoting off the supercommittee’s failure to launch a campaign to pressure Republicans to support an extension of the payroll tax cut. The two events are related. Both provide Obama with an opportunity to paint GOP priorities with stark clarity: The supercommittee failed because Republicans wanted the rich to pay less in taxes to secure our fiscal future — yet they are not willing to support a temporary tax cut extention for workers to prime the economy in the short term.
What’s more, the supercommittee’s failure to reach a deal — and the Dem refusal to make the Bush tax cuts permanent — mean the battle over whether to extend them will also come to a head just as the campaign hits its climax. Dems will call for the expiration of just the tax cuts for the rich, while Republicans will oppose extending just the middle class ones in isolation. All these ingredients will be seized upon to draw the sharp contrast of values, priorities, and visions for the country’s future direction that Dems hope will drive what may prove the most consequential election in recent memory.
* Ron Fournier responds: Yesterday I took a whack at Ron Fournier for drawing an absurd equivalence between the blame Republicans, Dems and Obama deserve for the supercommittee’s failure. Fournier equated the GOP refusal to raise taxes on the rich with the Dems’ alleged refusal to consider “significant” Medicare benefit cuts — even though Republicans insisted on a cut in high end tax rates, while Dems did offer hundreds of billions in Medicare cuts, and offered equivalent amounts of revenue increases and overall spending cuts.
Damn voters and their false equivalencies
Fournier’s Tweet links to this Reuters poll finding that 19 percent blame Dem and GOP lawmakers and 22 percent blame both parties and Obama for the supercommittee failure. But here’s the funny part: The same poll also finds that a plurality — 35 percent — favored a mix of tax hikes and spending cuts to close the deficit, which is to say, they favored the Democratic position. Multiple polls have found that majorities prefer this course of action, too.
Yet now that the supercommittee has failed, Fourier points with satisfaction to the fact that Americans seem prepared to throw up their hands and blame everyone involved — even though one party was advocating roughly for what they wanted, and the other refused to entertain it at all costs. You’d think this would lead folks like Fournier to consider at least the possibility that voters are not getting adequately informed by our media as to what is really happening in Washington, rather than see it as a sign of what an unimpeachably perfect job they’re doing. I’m not sure anything could capture what this is all about as perfectly as Fourier’s response has done.
* What really happened with the supercommittee: Kevin Drum aptly sums up both sides’ offers: The Dem offering was an “ordinary opening bid,” while the GOP’s was a “conservative wet dream.”
* Restoring sanity to the debate: With Republicans and neutral commentators insisting Obama should have gotten more involved in the supercommittee process, Ruth Marcus reminds us of a rather pertinent fact: Members of Congress specifically said early on that Obama’s involvement would be counter-productiv e to the process.
It’s amazing how quickly this basic fact vanished down the memory hole.
* False Romney ad takes a beating in New Hampshire: WMUR, the station that’s running the Romney ad that rips Obama’s words out of context in a highly dishonest way, ran its own harsh segment last night savaging the spot.
The Obama campaign is arguing that the spotlight on Romney’s mendacity will erode credibility with key swing state voters.
* More bad numbers for Obama: The new Quinnipiac poll finds that only 33 percent approve of his handling of the economy, yet another sign that Obama will continue to pay the heaviest price for Congress’ refusal to act on the economy.
* Why Obama must go negative in 2012:A good Ed Kilgore piece on why Obama’s only hope for breaking through GOP’s wall of obstructionism is to go relentlessly negative, and contrast the visions of the two parties as sharply as possible — and why that course of action is good for the country.
* Occupy Wall Street viewed negatively: Also in the Q-poll: Only 29 percent view the movement favorably, versus 44 percent who see it in an unfavorable light. While the numbers are virtually identical for the Tea Party, the poll — and the large number of undecideds — are a reminder that the protests’ excesses risk distracting Americans from its larger message, which the public agrees with.
* GOP debate snark of the day: Courtesy of Stephen Stromberg:
Michele Bachmann’s latest inanity: She claims that President Obama has outsourced the CIA to the ACLU. Apparently the ACLU is a lot better at plotting the death of Osama bin Laden than it has ever gotten credit for.
* And behold the Newt-mentum!!! Real Clear Politics’ Scott Conroy reports on a tantalizing possibility: That Newt Gingrich just may win the endorsement of Sarah Palin, whose clout with the evangelical and Tea Party wings of the GOP could have weight in Iowa and South Carolina.
What else is happening?